China is to make greater use of land transfer fees to finance
rural development this year as it is making "steady progress in
comprehensive rural reform", said an official here on Thursday.
"Some arable land has been used in the process of the nation's
industrialization and urbanization. The land approved by the State
Council in recent years has been an average 2.8 million mu (187,000
hectares) annually," said Chen Xiwen, Office of the Central Leading
Group on Financial and Economic Affairs deputy director.
To fully guarantee land rights to farmers, China uses a
two-layer operative system featuring a combination of centralized
and decentralized management with household contracts as the
The government would insist on and streamline the system in
2008, said Chen, also director of the Office of the Central Leading
Group on Rural Work, at a press conference.
Reforms of the township institutions and fiscal management
system at county and township levels would be further promoted to
speed up reform and renovation of rural financial system and to
properly settle debts in rural areas.
Chen said the government would continue reinforcing
institutional and organizational guarantees in the rural areas.
Efforts should be made to enforce the legal rights of migrant
workers, form an equal employment system for rural and urban
labors, and explore approaches for those farmers who have stable
jobs and residences in cities to gain a status as a city
Other efforts were needed to establish mechanisms of regular pay
increases and pay guarantee, employment improvement, social
security, housing and their children's education, he said.
Chen said the Party should advance the all-round development of
primary Party organizations in rural areas, especially in villages,
to improve the system of village autonomy. This was needed to build
leadership in rural primary Party organizations and to explore
effective mechanisms for village management.
The press conference was held a day after the Central Committee
of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and State Council jointly
issued this year's first policy statement. It was dedicated, for
the fifth consecutive time, to rural issues.
According to National Bureau of Statistics data, per-capita
disposable income was 13,786 yuan (1,919 U.S. dollars) in urban
areas last year, up 17.2 percent, or 12.2 percent in real terms.
Per-capita income was 4,140 yuan in rural areas, up 15.4 percent,
or 9.5 percent in real terms.
There is still an impoverished rural population of over 20
million, even though it dropped from more than 250 million three
Observers believed land use rights transfers and the declining
number of peasants who were confined to the land through such
transfers would be key to the integration of urban and rural areas
and hence the narrowing of disparities.
According to the document, the basic system for rural operations
and land contract relations will be stabilized and improved. The
market for transferring land contract and management rights will be
improved in line with the law and on a voluntary, compensated
Some experiments with the land contract and management right
transfer market have been conducted in some areas around the
Leng Gang, former party head of Shuangliu County in Chengdu, the
capital of the southwestern Sichuan Province, said his county
encouraged arable land to be held by large-scale farmers to support
the development of efficient modern agriculture and economies of
Peasants were encouraged to lease land and benefit from such
leases. They could either work for large-scale farmers or find jobs
outside their hometowns. Manufacturing and service industries were
being expanded to provide more jobs for peasants who abandoned
their land-use rights and apartments would be built for them in
(Xinhua News Agency January 31, 2008)